Early Exploration  by Olivia Hunt

The photo above is the amazing group of students that I was fortunate to advise this summer.  They came together as a team from all over the state to spend a week exploring potential careers in business @ PFEW.  Enjoy the blog below written by Olivia about the importance of Career Exploration.  ~ Brenda

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard the phrase, “junior year is the most important year of high school,” I would be able to pay my college tuition in cash, and buy a boat. While this idea has great conviction and solid reasoning behind it, I tend to disagree. But what about SAT’s? AP classes? Extracurricular leadership roles? Don’t colleges pay the closest attention to your grades junior year? Yes, yes, yes, and yes; these are all vital aspects of creating a solid path to college. But what about a career? Maybe you aren’t choosing to attend college, or just want to better understand what’s out there so you can select an adequate major. With the SAT’s, AP classes, extracurricular’s, and the pressure of grades, finding time to devote to self-exploration is incredibly tough. That’s why I would recommend starting this search as early as possible. For me, the process began near the end of freshman year, but it really took off as a sophomore.

In the last month of my freshman year, I discovered the existence of the almighty and ever so helpful career center. I decided to see what it was all about, so wandered on in and came across a bulletin board cluttered with ads for internships and part time jobs. Fast forward a year and a half, and I have been an intern for March Forward Consulting ever since. The first step to figuring out what you want to do with your life is deciding to do anything at all. I had no aspirations to become a blogger, businesswoman, or publicist, but I did end up realizing that I’m not so bad at writing, (and I even sort of liked it). I ended up in a creative writing class my sophomore year and fell head over heels for it. With each unit, I learned something new and exciting about the ways I could write, and it finally clicked during “playwriting”. Choosing a class that allowed me to explore a potential career interest was the reason I discovered what I hope to do professionally. If you have interests in subjects you’ve yet to explore; explore them. Sign up for the class, join the club, and pop it into Google. The more that you uncover about it, the better you can understand whether or not it could become your occupation. If you don’t end up liking it, so what? You learned something new, and you can cross it off the list of possibilities.

The earlier you can start, the better. As I mentioned before, junior year is tremendously overwhelming. Between academic and social responsibilities, free time is not frequent. Quite commonly, juniors refer to free time as “sleep”. Personally, I’d have to agree. My responsibilities in school include Student School Board Representative, Student Producer for the musical, Publicitor of French Honor Society, Student Council, National Honor Society, Best Buddies, Dance for Lives, French Club, Theatre Club, Student Life Committee, Food Committee, and probably something else that I honest to god cannot remember. On top of that, I take three AP courses, a level three language, calculus, and more. I don’t even have time for a lunch period. If I went on to tell you about my part time job, internship, competition dance team, and service work, you would probably stop reading, (if you haven’t already). “How do you have a social life?” This is a question I’m asked quite frequently by faces painted by expressions of horror. Somehow, against all odds, I still do. I juggle my time between a boyfriend, best friends, and even friendly acquaintances, but it is not easy. Yes, my case may be a little extreme. However, most juniors are at least half, if not nearly, as busy as I am. Crippling stress and mental breakdowns over tests, (literally, just tests), are not uncommon. So before it gets to that, all I can tell you is to use your time wisely. If you’re breezing through freshman and sophomore year, then devote your extra time to really going out into the world and experimenting with your interests. Let them pull you in all sorts of different directions and just see where they take you. Who knows, you might end up with a part time job or internship that guides you to exactly what you’ve been looking for. Look at my path to playwriting: it wasn’t a direct shot. Actually, I hope to pursue screenwriting, which is in a completely different business that I’ve yet to delve into. Upon my entrance to high school, I thought I wanted to be an architect, so I took the residential architecture class and started watching House Hunters. I soon realized that I was gravely mistaken. Then, I wanted to become an English teacher. This was a bit more on cue, but then again I realized that working in a school wouldn’t be a great setting for me. Bingo: writer. Cue further exploration, cue taking classes, yada yada yada… two years later and three of my pieces have been published in a professional literary magazine, as well as one in a book, and a chapter on the way. Testing out your interests is truly the only way to discover your passions, so don’t waste the time you have now just waiting for them to come. After all, you may not get the chance, (or time), again.

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